In our Winter edition of & LEGAL and YOU we drew your attention to recent changes to NSW State consumer laws affecting the minimum expiry date for gift cards sold and used within NSW. The NSW law mandated that gift cards issued after 31 March 2018 are redeemable for a full 3 year period.
The Federal Government has recently issued a consultation paper aimed at implementing gift card reforms at a Commonwealth level in order to provide national consistency of gift card regulation. This will provide businesses with cross border certainty and keep compliance costs to a minimum.
Following the existing NSW consumer guidelines, the Commonwealth reforms propose to:
- Mandate a minimum three year expiry date for gift cards;
- Require gift cards to display expiry dates;
- Ban post-purchase fees on gift cards
Exempted from the proposed regulations and strikingly similar to the earlier NSW Consumer laws, gift cards or vouchers provided as a discount promotion; travels cards; credit, charge and debit cards; digital currency; stamps; travelers cheques and cards associated with trade promotion or fundraising will not be included in the Federal legislation.
The Government will at a future date release the proposed regulations for consultation with stake holders and seek the agreement of the state and territory Consumer Affairs Ministers.
The nationwide reforms will not commence until 1 November 2019 so, if you are somebody who favours giving GIFT CARDS as presents at Christmas, your purchase will continue to be covered by the protections outlined under the NSW Fair Trading Amendment (Ticket Scalping and Gift Cards) Bill 2017.